Wiping her brow and fixing her scarf to better shield her fair skin, Tamar couldn’t help but wonder. “Why can’t I look like other girls, and be like them?” Then bit her tongue for even thinking such a thing.
For if she’d heard it once, she’d heard it a thousand times. “Remember the words of David,” her mother’s words rang in her mind. I will give thanks to you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. And then shaking her finger in Tamar’s face, “But you, my daughter, seem to forget this.”
“Me? Wonderfully made? With my nose too long and big ears?” Her friends had married long ago. But no one, it seemed, wanted her.
Yet deep in her heart Tamar knew the real reason was the problem. The one they never spoke about and that she didn’t even like thinking of. But that haunted her footsteps by day and carried her weeping to her bed.
Her parents had valiantly scrimped and saved for doctor visits, spending all they had. But no one could tell what caused the bleeding. No doctor had a cure.
“I should feel lucky,” Tamar thought. “No, not lucky. Blessed. Luck is for the pagans, her mother would say.” Though few parents would have tried so many doctors they could ill afford.
But finally even staunch, fighting Zephorah admitted defeat. With no doctors left to see, and no answers. So she shielded her young daughter from the voices as best she could. But nothing stopped the looks. Of pity, and of doom. “Doomed to never marry,” they sounded. “Doomed to become an old maid.”
“Perhaps it was my pride,” Tamar once whispered timidly to her mother. “When I was first of my friends to become a woman, I’m afraid the thrill of it went to my head. I was a bit proud and boastful.”
“Nonsense,” her mother had snapped. “That’s just coincidence.” But she never offered a plausible explanation. Maybe there was none.
But that was 10 years ago. Two years after the nightmare had started.
She’d always been small for her age. As some of her friends started rounding out and filling in, she’d remained as flat as a loaf of unleavened bread. “Great,” she thought, “I’ll probably be the last. Different, like always, and never fitting in.”
In logical, more sane moments, she realized how unfounded many of her thoughts were. Many friends had confided their envy of her. “Your looks are striking,” Abigail used to tell her. “Don’t you notice the boys watching you?”
But that was before. Before the problem. When she still had a life — a hope and dreams. But they had drained away along with the blood, that practically carried her life away with it.
And now, even if by some miracle the Lord should heal her, she could never marry. They’d snatched up the marriageable men long ago. And who wanted an old maid?
To never have a home of her own.
Never hold her own child in her arms.
“Well, mamma,” she thought. “You can think what you like. But I’m sure it was my pride.” So great had been her delight at being, not the last girl to blossom, but the first! A real honor! The first of her friends to become a woman. Able to marry!
“You’re too young,” her father had insisted. “No father can present his son’s case. Not for another two years.”
But the two years had come and gone, taking all her hopes with them. Her honor, pride, and delight had turned to nightmare. Unending, with no respite and no relief.
“Tamar,” her mother called from the door. “Come in now, Daughter. You’ve been out in that hot sun far too long already. It’s time to start our work anyway. Come and help me.”
“Alright Mother, I’m coming.” But there was no place she would rather be. Out in the courtyard, with God’s blue sky overhead. In such moments, the sun’s warmth helped her believe he had forgiven her. Had accepted her repentance for youthful pride. That even though healing might never come, he still loved her as his daughter. As a child of Father Abraham.
And life wasn’t always bad, she reflected. Some days were pretty good—when the bleeding lessened. And with renewed energy, she could do all the things she so loved doing. So with renewed hope, she determined to do the unthinkable. She would sneak away with Abigail to hear the great teacher.
After all, lots of women went. Or so Abigail said. Tamar never got beyond her own courtyard. But Abi got out in the world. She wasn’t ill and unclean. She had a life. “It’s only because someone has to do the shopping. And look in on my sickly mother-in-law,” Abigail consoled. “Not much excitement in that!”
“Be sure to cover your face so no one recognizes you,” she’d instructed. And so in the heat of the afternoon, as her parents rested in the courtyard, she slipped out the door with Abigail. Dear Abi, the one friend who still faithfully visited.
“Come on, Tamar,” Abigail prodded, “we don’t want to arrive late!”
“Late? How could we be late?” Tamar managed.
“You know my cousin who’s a servant in Matthew Levi’s house? Well, she told me the Rabbi is eating there. Hurry!”
“A tax collector’s house? Oh Abi, you’re not taking me there are you? Of all places!”
“Of course, silly! Huldah has arranged for us to sit under the window, in the courtyard! I didn’t say anything before, because…well, you’re such a worry wart!”
“I don’t think this is a good idea. What if we get caught? Or what if Huldah loses her job? Or…”
“Stop worrying,” Abigail interrupted. “Huldah’s got it all set with the overseer! I explained that you couldn’t go out in the crowds to hear the Master. So she arranged it all!”
“Oh but, you didn’t tell her that I’m…I mean, about…?”
“No, of course not. I told her you haven’t been feeling well of late.”
“Of late!” Tamar thought. “Yeah, like the past twelve years…!”
“And Huldah – she’s such a mother hen – declared it would be a real shame if you never got to hear the Master. You know, some even say he’s the Messiah!”
At those words, Tamar gasped, “The Messiah? The Messiah!”
“Well, some think so. Could be, you know. Lord knows we’ve waited long enough!”
“Hurry,” Huldah whispered. “I’ve got to get back to the kitchen. Sit here, but stay out of sight and don’t make a sound! You’re so lucky, she added in parting, “Almost a front row seat to hear the Master!”
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” the Pharisees sneered at the disciples. Implying that made Jesus a sinner too. But the Master calmly responded, “It’s the sick, not the healthy who need a doctor.”
“The sick need a doctor. Not the healthy. But the sick.”
Those words seemed spoken for her! “Not the healthy but the sick!”
“You need to study the Scriptures, and learn,” the Master told them. “All your ceremonial sacrifices don’t mean a thing if you’re not merciful to others. I didn’t come to invite good people to follow me. But to invite sinners.”
“To invite sinners. To invite sinners.” This man must have come from God. It’s as though he’s speaking right at me. As if he knew all about my sinful pride, but still calls me! I’m still a daughter of Father Abraham!”
With those words reverberating in her heart, she knew she must hear the Master again. Had to see him, to answer that call. His call to sinners, like her!
And so it was one day soon after that she dashed madly out her door. And joined the crowd following Jesus to Jarius’ house.
“He calls the sick. And sinners, like me!” The words echoed in her heart.
“Tamar, where are you going?” her mother shouted. “You know you can’t go out! It’s not allow…” The words dying on her lips as her daughter disappeared in the crowd. What could have come over her?
Gone were the fear and timidity. She’d heard the Words of Life. Knew that he’d come to call sinners and heal the sick.
And then she heard among the crowd, “The Master is going to heal Jairus’ daughter!” “No,” another cried, “They came and told the father that she died. But Jesus is going anyway!”
The refrain raced in her head. “Healing and life for sinners, like me!” So she pushed through the crowd, trying to reach the Master. “All will be well if I can only touch him. Though I can’t, because I’m unclean. But if I can at least touch his robe. I know even that would be enough.”
So she pushed closer, knowing that she just needed to get near him. “All it will take is one touch, and all will be well. Just one touch. Even to just touch the hem of his robe.”
Touched by the Master
And she was right. She knew it in an instant. And so did the Master. “Who touched me?” he asked, turning around.
“What do mean, Lord?” his disciples cried. “All the crowd is pushing in around you! How can you ask such a thing?” They couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. But Tamar knew. She was healed. Mind, body, and soul…
So in fear and trembling, she fell at his feet. And remembering that he called the sick and the sinners, she poured it all out. All the anguish and heartache of her young life.
And the Master said to her what he still says to those who seek him today. “And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:34 NLT)
One touch is all it takes when it’s the Master’s hand!Tweet
This fictional rendition of the woman with an issue of blood is based on Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48.
About my Biblical Fiction
Story has an amazing ability to draw us in, inspire us, and captivate our imagination as few other things can. My prayer is that these stories, by placing your feet on the same dusty paths that Christ trod, will draw you to know both Scripture and its author in a deeper way.
Images: Woman weaving by David Padfield | Baby by www.LumoProject.com | Jesus eating by www.LumoProject.com | Graphic made on Canva.
19 thoughts on “Healed By One Touch: A Short Story”
Reblogged this on Tales She Wrote.
Beautiful! I, too, had always thought of this woman as older. Thanks for letting me see this in a different light. This woman’s story is my story. After 15 years with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, I had spent thousands of dollars and suffered tremendously at the hands of doctors and healing treatments. Finally, I told the Lord that all I wanted was more of Him. Minutes later, He healed me, AND He has given me much more of Him. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to tell this woman’s story in a different way. You could write an entire book telling her story. Please think about it. Much love, Karen
I can understand Karen, why you greatly relate to this story seeing how the Lord healed you too! marvelous Actually, I have a healing story too, which I will have to share some day. But like your case, it came when I focused more on the Lord, not on my illness or on healing. But just on him. Thank you for your encouragement, my friend. I feel like this story just came to me. I don’t know how else to explain it. I especially appreciate you encouragement, because I have been feeling God’s leading to write a book. But I will need help and leading. I know I’m not capable without him! 🙏🏼
Beautifully told. And so it is just one touch of the Master changes our lives.
Thanks, and yes – that is all it takes!!
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I always pictured this woman as older. You’ve opened my eyes to the possibility she was actually young. Perhaps her miracle created life change beyond healing: new confidence, renewed hope for a future home, husband, and children of her own, and best of all, hope in the Messiah, the Prince of Peace. Beautiful, Sheila!
Thanks Nancy! You know, I had always considered her an older woman too. But I believe the Lord gave me this story, and that’s the way it came, flowing out in about 20 minutes. I just hope it will bring hope and encouragement to others!
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I LOVE THIS!!!! The story shows the picture clearly of her heart’s despair and the hope Jesus gave her. The joy of being in His presence changed everything. The touch of His hand changed everything. Thank you for this!!
Thank you, Dayle! It’s one of my favorite posts because it just came to me one morning. The words flowing so quickly that I could barely get them down. I love it when the Lord brings such inspiration. I only pray that it may touch hearts and bring encouragement… because it really does take just one touch!!
This is fantastic, Sheila! I couldn’t wait to read each new sentence. Although I know this story well, I was on the edge of my seat. 🙂 You write so well! I loved this! Thank you! 💜💜
Thanks Lynn, although all the credit goes to the Lord, especially for this post. It just came to me one day, so I sat down and wrote the whole thing in about 20 minutes. For that reason, it’s one of my all time top favorites! It spoke so much to me. I am so glad that you enjoyed it too! Be blessed.
You are a gifted writer, Sheila. I enjoyed this very much!
Thank you Linda. But to be honest, it wasn’t me. That story just came to me, and I wrote it in about 20 minutes. It was definitely God!! I just pray it may touch a few hearts!! Be blessed.
“Healing and life for sinners, like me!” Inspirational
Thank you! Oh, the great riches in Christ and his love!! God bless.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad it blessed you!!
What a beautiful way to bring the scripture to life. Well done!
Thanks Pete. I know the Lord was really helping me with that one!! God bless.
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